The Museum of the Home

Client: Museum of the Home, Hoxton

Designer : Wright & Wright Architects

Quantity Surveyors : Gardiner & Theobald

Fit Out: Elmwood Projects

In a year when the concept of ‘home’ took on a whole new meaning, towards the end of 2020 we completed and handed over our Exhibition Fit Out of the Museum of the Home in Hoxton, London. Having received a major capital grant of £18.1m from the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2016, the Museum embarked on an ambitious project to transform its gallery spaces and visitor offering. Some of the key objectives for the refurbishment and Fit Out were to create new gallery spaces to expand the scope and diversity of the exhibits, add more facilities for learning and engagement and, crucially, to create a sustainable future for the Museum.

The Museum of the Home first opened to the public in 1914 as a museum of furniture and woodwork and has since collected an extraordinary, diverse range of exhibits which show people’s everyday domestic experiences and how homes, their roles, contents and technology have evolved from the 17th century to the present day.

All the areas within the Museum were given a thorough refresh and bright new spaces have been created with improved accessibility and wayfinding. Our Fit Out works included the creation of a new visitor entrance and reception, new Home Galleries on the lower ground floor, and enhancements to other existing displays including the freshly reinterpreted Rooms Through Time. Two new learning spaces and a Collections Library were also added as part of the Museum’s renewal project.

The fit out took place in three separate phases, firstly the recreated Victorian room, followed by the extensive Ground floor with its “Rooms Through Time“ period interiors, Reception and Retail areas, then finally the lower ground floor which contains the Home Galleries.

A delay to the Base Build works was also successfully overcome with no loss of progress against plan, as our team were able to rely on their previous experience of this scenario and work efficiently alongside and around the Base Build contractor.

The exhibits and recreated interiors tell fascinating stories of home through time, and all that it represents for individuals, families and communities. The Museum is housed within a 300-year-old Grade I listed building, a former Almshouse, and its stunning gardens include a series of Gardens Through Time. Our team therefore had to give great consideration to the protection of the working environment throughout the build, to ensure the original building and all its features and fixtures remained pristine.

The extensive scope of the new Fit Out works included setworks, showcases, graphics & lighting, interactives, AV and mounts plus carpets and decoration. The full Fit Out was project managed by Elmwood as Principal Contractor, including the coordination and integration of specialist subcontractors. Our supply chain partners for the project included highly regarded M&H specialists in conservation grade display cases, and in the design, creation and installation of Interactives.

An example of one of the interactives on display is the “Empire Map” which encourages children to explore the influence that countries around the world had on Georgian homes. They will be invited to match an object to its country of origin by matching different shaped pegs together. The design and build of this particular piece required the precise integration of setworks with graphics, electricals and electromagnets, AV hardware and software.

Exterior visual by Secchi Smith, design by Wright & Wright Architects